Improving the PRS in Wales: Making it happen for landlords and tenants
In November 2017, the National Landlords Association (NLA) hosted, with support from Citizens Advice Cymru, a roundtable discussion on improving the Private Rented Sector (PRS) in Wales. The roundtable participants shared their own and their organisations’ perspectives on the current state of the PRS in Wales, and while a variety of viewpoints were put forward, there was a general consensus about both the challenges faced by, and the opportunities open to, the Welsh PRS.
This report summarises the roundtable discussion, and sets out a number of recommendations that seek to leverage current legislation to improve the PRS. Recommendations cover some of the key issues facing housing in Wales, including the age of, and access to, Wales’ housing stock, energy efficiency of homes, the relationships between landlords and tenants, and the rollout of Universal Credit.
Following the roundtable, we recommend that the Welsh Government should:
- Ask the UK Government, during the negotiation of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, to consider which powers can be devolved to Wales to ensure it has effective control over housing policy.
- Call on the UK Government to allow Universal Credit payments to be paid directly to the landlord, as they can be in Scotland, if this is the choice of the tenant.
- Take, alongside enforcing bodies, a more robust approach when enforcing legislation to root out non-compliant landlords.
- Set up a ministerial advisory group to ensure there is a meaningful and continual dialogue with sector stakeholders on policy developments affecting the PRS.
- Commit to undertaking an annual survey on the condition of housing in Wales.
- Explore ways to support landlords in meeting and surpassing energy efficiency obligations.
- Use Rent Smart Wales as a vehicle to produce and disseminate comprehensive and digestible information on the rights and responsibilities of tenants to help increase their confidence in disputes with landlords.